Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Findings from Foreign Interference Inquiry

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The public inquiry into foreign interference revealed that China attempted to meddle in the 2019 and 2021 Canadian elections, though the extent of its success remains unclear. Canada’s spy agency identified China as the most significant source of foreign interference, with sophisticated and persistent attempts. The inquiry heard that Russian disinformation and Iran-linked intimidation campaigns also pose a threat, but officials did not find a strong connection to meddling efforts in Canada’s elections.

The inquiry examined how China has mobilized support for preferred candidates, channeled donations and support to their campaigns, and targeted and leveraged families using threats and intimidation. A widespread misinformation campaign circulated among Chinese speakers on social media, aiming to dissuade the Chinese-Canadian community from voting for the Conservatives.

While the panel monitoring threats to elections considered issuing public warnings, they ultimately decided no threat was so great as to risk the integrity of the results. The threshold for going public was intended to be high to avoid jeopardizing Canadians’ faith in the election. The inquiry also heard testimony about the emotional toll foreign interference has taken on politicians and their constituents.

The commission is expected to deliver a preliminary report by May 3 and final recommendations by the end of the year, with a focus in September on Canada’s capacity to detect and deter foreign interference.

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